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Santa Barbara Unified School District sued over diversity training

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 11, 2019

Diversity and inclusion training put on for teachers and staff at the Santa Barbara Unified School District is being called anti-white and anti-Christian.

In a lawsuit filed this week, Fair Education Santa Barbara is suing Santa Barbara-based nonprofit “Just Communities Central Coast” over training they say is making campuses more divided.

Attorneys for Fair Education included some of the curriculum in the court filings. Attorney Eric Early explains one table on Forms of Oppression, “So for example, in the form of oppression column it has ‘racism.’ In the ‘privileged group’ it says ‘white people.’ It says ‘targeted group’ – ‘people of color.’ In the ‘form of oppression’ column it says ‘religious oppression.’ It says ‘Christian people.’ In the ‘target group’ it says ‘all others.'”

Fair Education says they hope the lawsuit will prevent the school district from using public funds to train teachers and other staff. They say the district has spent more than $1 million on it over the last five years.

“When we look into it, we also see a great deal of money that has been pulled out of the district and put into these nonprofits,” said James Fenkner of Fair Education.

Fair Education also wants the school district to disclose more specifics about the training and who’s teaching it.

“If it’s so wonderful and the best thing since sliced bread, put it out there,” Fenkner said.

Students like Zoe Rosenberg say this “misuse of district money” for the training is causing schools like Santa Barbara High School to fall into disrepair.

“So I started sending photos to my mom almost as a joke, like, ‘Wow, feces in the toilet week two. Wow, my friend’s desk just broke when she sat down in it. Wow, look at this – rats, isn’t this great.’ Sending it as me begging my mom to let me home school because I was so uncomfortable in the environment,” Rosenberg said.

But Just Communities Central Coast is firing back. They argue against claims their work is unAmerican. Director Jarrod Schwartz says the nation was founded on the creed of liberty and justice for all people and they hope to strive for that and help the nation achieve that vision.

In a statement, the organization goes on to say, “Teaching evidence-based diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum has significantly improved educational outcomes in Santa Barbara Schools. Unfortunately, our opponents continue to attack our work and bring baseless litigation that we believe only serves to undermine quality education and students’ chances of excelling in school.”

The Santa Barbara Unified School District said in a statement, “Having been unsuccessful in the federal court, Fair Education Inc. is seeking a do-over in Santa Barbara Superior Court hoping to achieve a different result. We do not anticipate that they will be any more successful here than they were in federal court.”​

So far there is no court date set for the litigation.

Five Williams Act reports against Santa Barbara High School for disrepair and one Williams Act report against Dos Pueblos for a broken intercom system were also filed today by Fair Education Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District said, “We recognize that the district has the responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs including the condition of school facilities. We take any William’s Act complaint seriously and have policies in place to investigate and resolve valid complaints within a reasonable time period.”